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PSPCL underused own plants, put Rs 1,428 crore burden on consumers

The electricity consumers had to pay Rs 1,428 crore more as the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) underused its own plants and preferred to purchase electricity from private players, a report compiled by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India for a period between 2013 and 2016 has pointed out.

punjab Updated: Mar 30, 2017 09:42 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
PSPCL,power plants,CAG
(HT Representative Image)

The electricity consumers had to pay Rs 1,428 crore more as the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) underused its own plants and preferred to purchase electricity from private players, a report compiled by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India for a period between 2013 and 2016 has pointed out.

The report said the increase in demand for power in the said period was met exclusively by purchasing power from private power producers and generation in its own plants went down. The PSPCL had paid Rs 2,250 crore for purchasing power in the said period, the report said.

The PSPCL has own thermal generating units at Ropar, Bathinda and Lehragaga and also draws power from Bhakhra Beas Management Board (BBMB).

Pointing out the incongruencies, the CAG report said in 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16, the power corporation purchased 48%, 64% and 55% of the total power it supplied.

Also read | Chaudhri steps down as Punjab power corporation chief, Venu takes charge for now

The report also pointed that in the three fiscals, Bathinda thermal plant worked on 55%, 37% and 23% load factor (a measure of the output of a power plant compared to the maximum output it could produce), Ropar plant on 72.5%, 52% and 36% and Lehra Mohabbut on 83%, 56% and 39%. The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) had imposed a penalty of Rs 26 crore on account of low generation at the state-owned units. The CAG also pointed out that the failure of PSPCL to disconnect the power connection of the defaulter consumers led to accumulation of power dues to Rs 535 crore. The PSERC regulations empower the state power corporation to disconnect a defaulter’s connection.

The audit report also observed that there was a need to bring in operational efficiency, bring down transmission and distribution losses that ranged from 14.63% to 17.42% from 2011 to 2016. It said distribution losses remained higher than the permissible limit, totalling 2,438 million units, valued at Rs 938 crore during the five years.

The report also said that 10% of the total 73-lakh consumers (excluding the agriculture pumpset users), over 7 lakh were still to get electronic meters.

The delay in issuing bills to the consumers caused a loss of Rs 24 crore to the PSPCL and the outstanding dues against the defaulting consumers had increased from Rs 706 crore to Rs 1,084 crore from 2012 to 2016.

First Published: Mar 30, 2017 09:29 IST